Dr Kim Dearing, Freelance Policy and Research Advisor

Dr Kim Dearing has a background rooted in the third sector, supporting adults with learning disabilities

Over 13 years, she worked up from being a support worker to managing care homes before developing the community services and outreach arm of the organisation. This included developing and implementing services, determining models of service delivery, increasing business volumes, managing staff (30+), and the day-to-day management of individual support for community support services (40+) users. Further, Kim took on a development role, which included setting up a work programme.
Frustrated at the policy approach to employment for people with learning disabilities, Kim entered full-time education in 2013 and completed a BA(Hons) in Sociology and Education Studies (first-class) at the University of Worcester. She then took a MSc in Social Science Research Methods at Cardiff University before beginning a PhD. Her PhD (Social Policy) research explored the relationship people with a learning disability can have with work and employment. While exploring the complex and persistent barriers to employment inclusion, her study also unpacked the nuanced, multifaceted reality of everyday life for learning-disabled people struggling to access paid work. Subtly, her thesis considers the ethical and moral dimensions of value, worth and inclusion. Kim has shared her research findings at sector specific learning disability conferences, academic conferences and in peer reviewed academic journal articles.  


Kim primarily works as an Associate Lecturer and Academic Conduct Officer for The Open University. As a Policy and Research Advisor, Kim offers Social Firms Wales specialist knowledge and considers the potential impacts of policy decisions in an ever-changing landscape.



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